One of the biggest ongoing dramas in Major League Soccer is the perception of the relationship between U.S. Men’s National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann and the league.
Klinsmann seems to be pushing national team players to go overseas, which has created friction with league owners. In a report from ESPN FC, Klinsmann has clarified previous statements about MLS.
"I think it's great if people have their opinion out there, that they express that opinion," Klinsmann said in the report. "But I think before they express their opinion they should give me a call and ask what is really going on. Because a lot of people mention their thoughts without even knowing what is really going on.”
[RELATED - New faces all over as Fire open training camp]
Klinsmann explained that he has never been given the chance to speak with MLS owners and explain his plan for the national team.
"Our picture is the global picture," he said. "We need to know what England, Germany, and Spain are doing in Europe, and then Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are doing in South America. But our benchmarks are internationally.
"So for a lot of people they define their world domestically, which is totally cool. They should think maybe a little bit more before saying things from the outside about the national team program."
MLS players took up 10 of the 23 spots at the 2014 World Cup roster, which was picked by Klinsmann, and four more players joined the league soon after the tournament. On that alone, it would appear Klinsmann hasn’t held a grudge against players from the league, but it is natural for the national team and the domestic league to have different goals in mind.
Currently, the U.S. is having its annual January camp, which takes place during the MLS offseason and gives Klinsmann a chance to see different players who are currently in the offseason with their club teams. This year, the camp includes a number of U-23 players who are prepping for the Olympic qualifying playoff against Colombia in March. Chicago Fire players Matt Polster and recent draft pick Brandon Vincent are part of that group. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson joined the senior group as an injury replacement for D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
[SHOP FIRE: Get your Fire gear right here]
"We see a lot more than the result. We see the development of players at a specific point in time in their careers. Our job is to help them to build," Klinsmann said. "We never give up on players because they have a couple of bad months, a couple of bad games. We help them through those phases. No matter where they are in their club environments.
"That's another point with MLS. I always say, 'We are here for the players, to play at the highest level possible.' If that highest level is MLS, we are here to help.”